Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King deserves thanks for voting against approval of Keystone XL (“Maine Sen. King casts pivotal vote as Keystone pipeline bill blocked,” Nov. 18).

I believe his vote will help persuade President Obama to disapprove of construction of the pipeline.

King’s stated reason for voting as he did (“Congress is not … in the business of legislating the approval or disapproval of a construction project”) may have been due to the legal requirement that any construction across the U.S. boundary with another country must have the approval of the president.

Whatever his reasons, King’s vote took courage, right up there with congressmen honored in John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” for voting their consciences.

Judging from Maine’s recent election results, it may well be that the majority of Mainers wanted King to approve XL, but I am extremely thankful that he did not. Even climate change deniers have to admit that the mining of tar sands oil, which Keystone XL would transport, is devastating the landscape.

Thank you, Sen. King.

Fern Stearns

Orland